Kathryn Ligday (’18): Flourishing with an AMU Education


Kathryn Ligday (’18): Flourishing with an AMU Education

When graduating senior Kathryn Ligday thinks back on her time at Ave Maria University, growth emerges a common theme. From her discernment of where to attend college, to her choice of a major, to her campus involvement, professional development, and personal formation, Kathryn’s reflections reveal that she was motivated, pushed, and inspired to grow as a person at Ave Maria University–and grow she did. Kathryn graduates with the Class of 2018 as a bright young woman, with one chapter closing behind her, and a future full of hope opening up ahead.

As a high school student from St. Mary’s County, Maryland, Kathryn chose to attend AMU because it was a place where she knew she would flourish and thrive. “I knew…I would grow academically, spiritually, socially, and physically,” she recalls. “I would grow as a whole person. I knew Ave Maria was going to help me become the person God intended me to be.”

Kathryn came in as a Theology major, with a love for her classes and a passion to learn more about God. “I wanted to grow in my knowledge of Him,” she says simply. When she realized she possessed strong organizational and administrative skill sets, she decided to add on a minor in Business Administration. “I discovered that a lot of my talents could be applied to administrative work,” she explains. “It also broadened my major for potential jobs!”

When not pursuing studies, Kathryn was actively involved in campus life. She was a member of the Daughters of God Household, and served the female students as a Resident Assistant in the residence halls. She regularly attended bible studies, was Activities Coordinator for Ave for Life (AMU’s pro-life club), ran with the Life Runners, and served as a Student Representative for the University’s Strategic Planning Committee. Kathryn is also a recipient of the Leadership Scholarship. As a crowning honor, she was named one of the five finalists for the President’s Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior of AMU in recognition of academic accomplishments, involvement in the life of the University, service to others, and exemplification of AMU’s highest Catholic ideals.  

Over the last four years at Ave Maria University, Kathryn Ligday says she was challenged to grow into the person God intended her to be.

My experience at AMU has been such an amazing one!” she exclaims. “Each semester was filled with new ways to grow and learn about myself. My time at AMU has shaped me personally through time spent in prayer, building relationships with incredible people–students, professors, and staff–and the countless opportunities.” What sort of opportunities is Kathryn referring to? “Opportunities such as attending a camping retreat in Utah,” she explains. “Listening to various talks put on by students, going on a mission trip, going to AMU events, and these are just a few!”

When pushed to pick out one experience as a highlight during her time at AMU, Kathryn names the mission trip to Calcutta, where she worked alongside the Missionaries of Charity. “I will never forget this experience,” she states. “I learned how to love in a new way: through action, sacrifice, and silence.”

Looking towards the future with joy, Kathryn will be celebrating her marriage to fellow classmate, Jeffrey Henkel, in June. After their wedding, the couple has plans to settle in Augusta, Georgia.

Congratulations to Kathryn on her accomplishments over the past four years, and for being named a President’s Award finalist. We wish her great joy as she prepares for her marriage to classmate Jeffrey!